Tagged BDS

Good News and Bad News in the Fight Against Anti-Semitism

First, the good news: Over 600 academics thus far have signed a new letter opposing an academic boycott of Israel. The signatories include at least one Nobel Prize winner, law school deans, and leading scholars in several fields (that is just based on the some of the signatories I personally know; I have not looked over the whole list). The statement takes no position on the Israeli-Arab conflict, and tries to to be as neutral as possible about everything other than BDS itself. The key parts of the letter are below; it is open for signature by any college or…

From the “Any More Such Victories and We Are Doomed” Department

The Modern Language Association is the latest academic group attempting to pass a resolution condemning Israel for things that the Modern Language Association doesn’t like. This is being done because the Modern Language Association has an interest in pretending that it is good, righteous, and filled with God’s noblest creatures, and it feels that the best way to pursue this particular interest is to take a publicly anti-Zionist stance. Readers will, of course, wonder why the Modern Language Association doesn’t try to show that it is good, righteous, and filled with God’s noblest creatures by adopting resolutions condemning the actions…

In Which I Blog about Stories that Cannot Possibly Have Occurred

Behold the following from Professor Jonathan Marks: Need a break from grading? Head on over here, where someone has posted a partial record of Modern Language Association member comments on resolution 2014-1, urging the “United States Department of State to contest Israel’s denials of entry to the West Bank by United States academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.” It is a spectacle. How often do you get to see scholarly colleagues refer to one another as “Zionist attack dogs?” And then there is this: A resolution against Israel is being voted on by the general membership of…

Scarlett Johannson Schools OxFam

Well played: As if her otherworldly beauty and screen presence were not enough, here is another reason to love Scarlett Johansson: Oxfam, of which she was an ambassador, hinted that she should cut her ties with SodaStream on the basis that it maintains factories in Israeli settlements and she responded by cutting her ties with Oxfam! What’s not to love about this story? A worthy charity shakes its big head in disapproval at a celeb who has dared to do things for a company that works in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, no doubt expecting the celeb to freak out,…

Still More on the American Studies Association and Its Boycott of Israeli Universities

A fine statement against the boycott by UCLA chancellor Gene Block. And all hail Stephen Harper. (I presume that there will now be claims that AIPAC is exercising its well-known insidious influence on Canadian prime ministers.) Incidentally, the universities engaged in the boycott may be violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I would not be surprised if they were, and a lawsuit regarding this issue would be downright hilarious.

Quote of the Day

For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians. Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange. Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other…

On the Boycott of Israeli Universities, the Good Guys Are Winning

The American Studies Association certainly deserves to be on the defensive when it comes to its efforts to organize a boycott of Israeli universities. If it does not want to be on the defensive, perhaps it will reconsider its absolutely terrible and deleterious policy regarding the issue. Until then, it deserves the opprobrium it gets. The following may be my favorite passage: Leon Botstein, president of Bard College and a boycott opponent, said calls from alumni to take a stand against the boycott had played a role. “As an active member of the Jewish community, I recognize that the American Jewish…

A Strong Denunciation of the ASA Boycott of Israeli Universities

Found here. Kudos to John Garvey for bringing a sense of perspective and reality to the debate; perspective and reality being alien to the American Studies Association. I suppose that I would have drafted a much stronger and more blunt statement, but seeing as how the president of the Catholic University of America found it within himself to be able to call the ASA “a kind of inept volunteer fire department, aiming to put out the Israeli-Palestinian conflagration by throwing gasoline on the fire,” and then immediately amended to say that in fact, the ASA had “decided to pour gas not…

Good for Case Western Reserve University

Its president and provost have denounced the academic boycott of Israel. I won’t excerpt the statement; you should just go ahead and read the whole thing, which is brave, to the point, honest, and worthy of all academics who are genuinely interested in engaging in open, free and vigorous inquiry.